WV lawmakers disagree on filibuster - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV lawmakers disagree on filibuster

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West Virginia lawmakers are giving their thoughts on the United States Senate changing its filibuster rules.
The partisan battles have paralyzed Washington in recent years and took a historic turn Thursday, as Senate Democrats eliminated filibuster for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisanship.
The 52-48 vote to undercut venerable filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in which presidents of both parties complained about delays in confirming appointees, particularly to the federal courts.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he voted against changing the rule because Americans deserve a government that works for them.
"I completely understand their frustration with the partisan gridlock in Washington," Manchin said. "It has become increasingly clear to me that both parties have abused the filibuster by using it to gain political advantage instead of truly debating an issue."
With that in mind, Manchin offered a commonsense compromise that would have allowed President Barack Obama to put his team in place, but require greater consideration for nominees whose posts outlasted the president.
"I was willing to support modest changes to make the system more efficient, but my proposal was rejected," Manchin said. "I voted against the rules changes today because they simply went too far. I firmly believe that the filibuster is a vital protection of the minority views and exactly why the framers of our Constitution made the Senate the ‘cooling saucer.'" 
"It's past time to fix Congress and make the legislative process work in a way that puts the American people ahead of petty politics. It's past time Congress begins working together to move this country forward."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Thursday Republican obstruction has "surely caused anyone to second guess their dream of entering public service."
"For months now we've been operating in gridlock, unable to do our job – one that so many have forgotten is an honor and a privilege," Rockefeller said.
He said while he has no issue with a senator opposing a nominee on substantive grounds, it is when a senator votes again and again against a pattern of obstruction for too long, holding back presidential appointments for months and in some cases, years.
"We should be honoring these men and women, who are eager to make a contribution to their country through the noble calling of public services, with a fair up or down vote. I regret that we had to change the rules to get to this point, but I am glad the senate can finally go back to doing its job today."